Jean Marc Giroux
Cosmed | France
Cosmed has launched its new global expert service “Cosmed Environment”. Well known for its regulatory expertise, Cosmed has added a new global service to assist companies in mastering their ecological transition. Silvana Maini interviewed Jean Marc Giroux, Cosmed’s President, for BEAUTY HORIZONS.
Why creates a department dedicated to environment at Cosmed?
The ecological transition is at the heart of the "France Relance" plan announced by the French government. 30 billion are devoted to it in order to assist the decarbonisation of industry and to support the development of circular economy. But for companies, the concrete impacts are now becoming clear. In 2019, Cosmed had answered 3,000 questions from companies, 350 of which already concerned environment. In 2020, we have dealt with more than 1,000 questions relating to environment, i.e. 3 times more, in just 10 months. More than a signal, this figure is a powerful siren call for us to act. Since the end of 2018, we have been preparing an "environmental watch" project. Listening to companies and their expectations convinced us to move to a higher dimension.
How does the cosmetics industry position itself in relation to environmental awareness?
The cosmetics industry is not new to environmental and societal issues. The beginnings date back to 1974. Seven cosmetic companies were even named in 2012, among the most ethical and committed firms in the world, by Ethisphere Institute, an independent American NGO. According to the Cosmed Barometer of Key Indicators of the industry (4th quarter 2020), 76% of managers will direct their investments towards the ecological transition. They are especially aware that the schedule for changes is now imposed, both by the consumer and his representatives, and by the legislator. 83% of consumers want products to be designed and manufactured in such a way as to reduce their impact on the environment and are asking for proofs. Also, the expectations of managers are formulated in a very pragmatic way: what is the current state of my project? What actions should I start with? How can I finance it in the long run? How can I manage changes on my industrial site? How can I enhance the value of my actions and investments for the consumer throughout the process, while complying with the various regulations? What certifications should I aim for in a long-term perspective?
What is Cosmed Environment?
The Cosmed Environment service is based on five actions that companies are particularly looking for: a diagnosis, a recommendation for the definition of the strategy and action plan, an ongoing evaluation, the search for co-financing and, above all, help in coordinating the actions of the stakeholders, both internal and external to the company.
It is clearly the first global environmental service dedicated to the cosmetics industry. The solid knowledge of the filed helps the implementation of adapted action plans to VSEs, SMEs and ETIs. We have entrusted the management of this activity to a specialist issued from a large cosmetics group, Mathilde Guyader. Marion Irastorza, formerly a sustainable development consultant at EY, has joined the department. We have established a long-term collaboration with Corinne Lepage, former French Minister for the Environment. She and her team have a very sharp vision of technological, regulatory or legislative developments and of the opinion trends of tomorrow.
What changes can companies already initiate?
The eco-design of products represents the first efforts and the indispensable first level for changes. Saving energy, water, improving the carbon balance, reducing waste, etc. logically follow the implementation of good environmental practices. In the medium term, managers could be interested in the “company with a mission” concept, initiated in France by Pact Law (2019). This status, known worldwide as Benefit Corporation (B-Corp), is a new virtuous legal status focused on environmental and societal values, but which will likely changes deeply governance models, relationships between general management and shareholders, role of employees, etc. Cosmed will assist companies through all these stages.